The Government of Dominica this week received agricultural equipment valued at $750,000, made possible by the People’s Republic of China, to further enhance the agricultural sector on the island.
The supplies, which were presented under the eighth phase of the Chinese Agricultural Technical Cooperation Agreement at One Mile, Portsmouth, include hydroponic cultivation systems to upgrade technology demonstrations; materials required for the maintenance of greenhouses and drip irrigation systems; agricultural tools, seeds, and seedling trays used for continuous seedling breeding; and agricultural machinery such as tractors and accessories.
“This intervention is another testament that the Government of Dominica is keeping to its promises to farmers and we put the necessary systems in place to transform the agricultural sector to meet our 700 by 2035,” Agriculture Minister Roland Royer said while delivering remarks at a handing over ceremony.
According to him, this Dominica-China Modern Agricultural Centre over the years has provided support to several farmers across the island and also served as a training ground for many students.
“The equipment and tools which were officially received include two hydroponics demonstration systems which complement government’s effort in the modernization of the agricultural production system as we work to meet the growing demand of fresh vegetables on the island,” Royer indicated.
He mentioned further that climate change has triggered several weather variabilities which has significantly affected production.
“This has led to the scarcity of vegetables during certain periods of the year, which has further justified the need to engage in more research and introduce technologies and enhance production systems,” he noted. “We believe that this investment in sheltered and smart agriculture systems will enable us to adapt to the impacts of climate change and create more opportunities to meet the growing demand for key commodities and also contribute to food security.”
Royer encourages farmers to take the time to get familiar with the technologies at the modern agricultural complex at One Mile to make sound investment decisions.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said agriculture remains the number one priority in Dominica and his government will continue to work with partners like the Chinese to continue their investments in agriculture, to ensure its sustainability.
“There is no doubt the relationship between Dominica and China has resulted in tremendous positive benefits to the people of Dominica in every sphere of our development,” he said.
Skerrit explained for instance, when he met with the Vice President of the People’s Republic of China in Jamaica in 2005, he said to him that he wished for China to support Dominica in agriculture, and within two weeks of that meeting a team came to Dominica to establish the technical mission in Dominica.
“And since then, we have seen all of those years of tremendous investment in agriculture by the People’s Republic of China,” he stated.
The Prime Minister who is in full support of the move towards technology in agriculture said further that there is no doubt that Chinese technology has assisted Dominica and as the years go by, “we are strengthening that partnership and collaboration to ensure it helps the farmers, the farming community and the agricultural sector.”
Officials were also given a demonstration of a hydroponics system on site.
The Government of Dominica expresses gratitude to the Chinese Technical Mission for its continued support of Dominica’s agriculture sector.